Braxton Citizens' News, Government

Longtime Pageant Director arrested for stealing money

A longtime organizer of beauty pageants in Braxton County has been arrested by State Police for embezzling funds from the events he organized on the pretext of raising money for charitable organizations.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Braxton County Magistrate Court, Gary Beamer, 43, of Newville Road, Sutton, has been charged with two counts of obtaining money by way of fraudulent schemes.

According to that complaint, between April 2007 to April 2023, Beamer was the administrator of a pageant in Sutton that contestants were led to believe was raising money to benefit the Children of St. Jude’s Medical Research Hospital. Beamer is accused of raising the money and then keeping it for his own personal gain.

Since 2015, Beamer also ran a Christmas pageant that was held in Sutton under the guise that contestants were raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association of West Virginia. The criminal complaint states that Beamer kept more than $1,000 that was raised through the Christmas pageant for himself.

Beamer was arrested last Wednesday by West Virginia State Police Sgt. D.L Gorden who conducted a multi-month investigation into the fraudulent schemes and gathered information from multiple witnesses. That investigation is continuing, according to authorities.

Beamer was arraigned on the two felony charges before Braxton County Magistrate David Singleton. Beamer was lodged in the Central Regional Jail in lieu of a $50,000 cash-only bond where he remained at press-time.

If convicted, Beamer faces from 2 to 20 years in prison and fines up to $5,000.